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JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) [Paperback]

David Flanagan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 32.50
Price: 22.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 May 2011 0596805527 978-0596805524 6

Since 1996, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide has been the bible for JavaScript programmers—a programmer's guide and comprehensive reference to the core language and to the client-side JavaScript APIs defined by web browsers.

The 6th edition covers HTML5 and ECMAScript 5. Many chapters have been completely rewritten to bring them in line with today's best web development practices. New chapters in this edition document jQuery and server side JavaScript. It's recommended for experienced programmers who want to learn the programming language of the Web, and for current JavaScript programmers who want to master it.

"A must-have reference for expert JavaScript programmers...well-organized and detailed."
—Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, CTO of Mozilla

"I made a career of what I learned from JavaScript: The Definitive Guide.”
—Andrew Hedges, Tapulous

Frequently Bought Together

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) + JavaScript: The Good Parts + JavaScript Patterns
Price For All Three: 53.36

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1096 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 6 edition (13 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596805527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596805524
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.8 x 6.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

Activate Your Web Pages

About the Author

David Flanagan is a programmer and writer with a website at His other O'Reilly books include JavaScript Pocket Reference, The Ruby Programming Language, and Java in a Nutshell. David has a degree in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He lives with his wife and children in the Pacific Northwest between the cities of Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars huge, and hugely useful 27 May 2011
I used the previous editions for years and just received this one, from what I see the author has brought it up to date with the latest standards and additions, also devoting chapters to more extensions and tools, about server side applications, jquery and more.

The only way I can think of to improve the reading experience is to split the book.
Of course this could easily add a lot to the price, which at 25 for this kind of content is really a bargain.

I like Flanagan's style (in this, and in his Ruby book as well) and if I could have only one javascript book, this would be it.
But like with all dynamic languages, coding serious applications in javascript requires some discipline and style that I feel are not addressed enough here -- I may be wrong because I'm not going to read it all again, but I have not seen it mentioning jslint or something like that.

So if you have a previous edition, or none at all, by all means get this one. For completeness and building one's style, I also suggest a careful read of the smaller O'Reilly trilogy (js the good parts, js patterns and high performance js).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best JS book I ever bought 28 July 2011
I never really "got" javascript . I used it from time to time on web sites when I had to, but never wrote any original code - it was always cut and pasted from some site like DynamicDrive. Then jQuery came along. It was obvious from the demo sites that you could do some amazing things with this library and that it took away the ever present hassle of making stuff work with all the different version of IE. So I started to use jQuery and tried to understand about the $() and all the other seemingly impenetrable ()}); rather than just copy and paste. But it was an uphill struggle.

Then I read David Flanagan's chapter on functions then the chapter on jQuery in this book and it all became clear. As did lot's of other stuff about js. This is a brilliant book. The background about js - why it is like it is - is explained. The bad bits are spelt out and the good bits are thoroughly explained and demonstrated. Not for beginners - e.g. if you don't know what "overloading" is, you will struggle. The term (and many others) is used with the presumption you'll understand it.

But if you've a hankering to understand how js really works then get this book. I can't praise it enough !
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fiendishly complicated for a beginer 18 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read through a couple of starter books on Javascript and have past experience of C programming. However this book really is on a higher level and I feel like I am actually learning the true 'nature of the beast', painful as it is. Whereas the starter level books tell you how to make things work in the real world, this book describes why they work that way.

It's like learning how to drive a car and wanting to know how the gear box is put together at the same time though. I'm sure you could do a lot of Javascript programming with out the level of detail this book goes into, however hopefully my efforts will be rewarded !

I'd say that the examples used often introduce complicated syntax or extra twists that go beyond what is being illustrated, as a newby this does really make your head hurt, however I generally get there in the end if I go back and review what I have read. I've read a lot of Unix man pages in my time and reading this book is kind of like reading one long man page. Pretty un-relenting stuff compared to the chatty nature of the Dummies books for example ! Wish me luck completing this please ;-)


I have now finished reading the first part of this book. The second part is what I am really interested in and I am now hooked ! It's amazing to think that JavaScript is at the heart of the internet and WWW 2.0 . It surely can not be a wasted effort to learn about JavaScript. There is not a more authoritative book to learn from either as far as I know .


I'm now half way though the jQuery section of this book. I have revisited some of the easier books I read prior to this one today and it strikes me how they all gloss over the details.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DEFINITIVE reference book for Javascript 22 Dec 2011
It's a bit difficult to review this book. The current and previous editions have been reviewed numerous times by several Amazonians and javascripters. I can only concur with the majority of reviewers, and echo their sentiments about this book. Any javascript programmer worth his salt has a copy of this book on his/her desk. If you are programming in javascript (or planning to) then you must buy a copy of this book ASAP.

The definitive guide is a massive book, and will intimidate newbies (i.e. people who are either new to programming or new to javascript), but this book does the difficult task of catering to both the novice and expert javascript programmer.

It can be used to learn the language(syntax and semantics) if you are not familiar with Javascript, and it can be used purely as a reference book. It covers both client side and server side programming. It does an impressive job of covering a wide range of topics from basic stuff like loops, conditional statements etc to advanced topics like closures, prototyping and beyond.

Despite being a very technical book, the writing is lucid, and steers clear of jargons most of the time. The chapters are independent and can be read/referenced out of order although the reader will benefit by reading the chapters in order.

Highly recommended!

- A J
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best programming book you'll ever buy!
I bought this book, along with 2 other titles "JavaScript: The Good Parts" & "Javascript Patterns", and all I can say is that this Trilogy is essential reading for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gary Woodfine
5.0 out of 5 stars True JavaScipt guide
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is very extensive and thorough JavaScript book, which can be used as reference book but also can be read from beginning to end for someone... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Denis Vukosav
5.0 out of 5 stars JavaScript The Definitive Guide
A weighty tome with all the references, examples and tips you need to develop your JavaScript skills
Takes you from novice to expert in easily understood steps
An... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John C McAllister
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have for a JS programmer
I have an older version of this, and I know that newer versions of JS are in the pipeline - but decided to update my version to have a more useable reference. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R Coombe
5.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all really
This is a definitive guide to Javascript. Like the unicorn on the cover, it's big & fat & heavy, and quite slow-going, but an excellent reference work. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally recommended
Very up-to-date and comprehensive, although not suitable for programming beginners - and it does say this on the back cover. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Steve W
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for learning JavaScript
The examples were clear and commented, and it covered all the essentials. It also touches on newer stuff (such as Web Workers) which will be better supported in the future.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs C A Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book
This is truly one of the best reference books I've ever put my hands on. It gives enough detail on how things work and even talks about some of the basics quite well, even though... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Daniel Oliveira
5.0 out of 5 stars good coverage and much smaller on kindle
I have HTML and javascript references on my kindle - good coverage of the topics and I dont have all the weight of the paper versions. I like the writing style too.
Published 7 months ago by Westdale
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge book
This book really is the definitive guide to JavaScript. Highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn, or seasoned programmers who want the best reference guide out there.
Published 7 months ago by Andy Williams
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